24 Aug 2013

My doctors have got a RAD new idea...

Hello my lovely readers. How are you all? I hope you are enjoying the bank holiday weekend. I bet you are all wondering what I have been up to? Well let me fill you in…

My wounds have been healing nicely which is really great. I still have a couple of dressings on but it won’t be long until I am dressing free (*I hope) and finally able to have a bath. I also have a lot more energy that I have been putting to good use by going for some nice walks in the sunshine. I had a dose of Herceptin at the hospital that went fine and I have done the odd bit of writing. As you can see I haven’t really had a very eventful week, well I hadn’t until yesterday. Yesterday I had an appointment with my oncologists. This appointment lasted nearly and hour and a half. In this appointment I was told I would need radiotherapy. EURGH. This was not part of the plan. I thought I was going to avoid being zapped. It turns out the universe had other ideas.

As if this latest blow wasn’t enough to ruin my week I then got told that my course of radio would last for five weeks. Most people are treated for three weeks but I, being the special person I am, get to have an extra two weeks because guess what I AM SO YOUNG (*if one more doctor tells me this I think I might spontaneously combust). Seriously I do realise that I was pretty unlucky to get cancer at my age I don’t need doctors to remind me of this too. My bleedin' age has a lot to answer for you know, it often means I get the bum end of the deal. I was given the strongest chemo and the most radical surgery so I probably should have guessed radiotherapy would be no different. Silly me thinking I had gotten away without having any.

SO on hearing the action plan I made a deal with my Docs, I told them that they had to wait until after I had been to the Cosmo Blog Awards before they could start frying me. I reckon that is only fair don’t you? It means my wounds have a bit longer to fully heal and I get to have a good few more weeks of feeling normal and having some fun before my energy gets temporarily zapped away from me again. If I am honest the thing that is bumming me out the most about this news is the fact that I won’t be able to have a hot bath during and for a little while after the treatment. I still haven’t had a bath since the day before my surgery and I MISS THEM. It seems cruel that not long after I am finally able to have a bath they will once again be taken away from me. Having radio also means I get to have my first tattoo (*sorry Snoop Doggy Rob, but it is strictly for medical reasons only)! It will be a couple of tiny dots on my chest and under my arm but hey it’s a tattoo all the same!

You probably want to know why the hospital have changed their minds about giving me radiotherapy. There was a slight mix up in the beginning and I should never have been told that I wasn’t going to need it. Unfortunately my oncologist was away when I was deciding about surgery and so my surgeon consulted with other doctors and wires got crossed. I had been told radio could wreck my reconstruction results so when I was told that I wouldn’t need it I decided to have the big op, get it all done at once and reduce my scarring. After surgery I had an appointment with my actual oncologist and he started to talk to me about radio. I told him that I was told I wouldn’t need it and he wasn’t impressed. He said he would talk to some other specialists and then make a decision.

My oncology team have now decided that because my original tumour (Kenneth) was so ‘naughty’ (AKA aggressive) and chemo didn’t completely kill him, there may be a few naughty cells left. Therefore they want to be safe and give me strong treatment. They also never found out for sure that it hadn’t spread to my nodes so they want to zap them too! I am all for being safe and so although this is in no way the decision I wanted I understand the need for it. Like most cancer treatments there are some negatives to radio, these include the fact that it may very well ruin the great cosmetic result my surgeon worked so hard to achieve and it will probably make me very tired both during treatment and for a while afterwards.  BUT HEY I’ve been through worse so although this is a bit of a pain I’m hoping I’ll be able to handle it. I think that really my doctors just like me so much they want to see me more ;-).

So there you go, that’s what has been happening in my life recently. I didn’t want to have radio, I thought I was finished with the nasty bits of my treatment and I was looking forward to finally being able to escape from the hospital for a while. Now I have to spend a whole lot more time there but I would rather spend time there now than have to spend time there again later on in life! The two hours of driving everyday will be a pain and any holiday plans I had have to be put on hold for now BUT I still get to go to the Blog Awards AND I can hopefully have a lot of fun now whilst there is still (*fingers crossed) the odd bit of sunshine left in the UK.

I completely agree with Dolly Parton who once said "the way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain".

Love you long time. X


  1. dont know whether to cry or laugh with you. At least you get the cosmo thing in before the radio starts so lets hope its a big win for your excellentn blog. 5 weeks may seem like a long time now but if it gives you a whole lifetime..its got to be worth it...

  2. Anonymous1.9.13

    Hi,Can I just say it is pants that you had 1 cell that decided to go rouge,I hope all is going as well as it can,I won`t tell you to fight it with all your might as,from my brothers experience you can`t fight it,you just do as the docs say and hope for the best,all those times sat in the hospital watching husbands looking at their wife's,and wives looking at their husbands not really knowing or understanding what is happening,just hoping for the best reading those magazines and papers that always seem to be there,I hope truly that the treatment works for you,May I just say if you are offered a choice of `This should do the job` or `this will nearly destroy you` please take the very worse,for the worse really is the best,although you will say otherwise during and even after.

    Until my brother developed cancer it was an after thought in most peoples lives,but you soon learn the truth,after knowing what I know,it amazes me that if a woman is given the chance or choice of a mastectomy they still play the chances,and for what ?,hell no if the chances are even a few percent better,then there is no choice ,to live with the loss of something very important and cope,or to lose.

    I wish you well,as tiered and as drained as you may or will be please try to see something new each day,even something as small as spider running for its life,smile at a guy and make his day,wink at a guy and make his year!,but most of all good luck.

  3. laura barber1.9.13

    Hi Laura, just read your story in fabulous and it brought back so many memories. I was told I had breast cancer in may 2012 at the age of 33 which although 10 years on you still young (at least in my eyes ;) can I just say am so with you in writing your blog I felt so alone being a young cancer (not going to say victim) how about survivor. Trust me when when I say radio is the easy bit, if you can get some aloe Vera gel from Holland and Barrett and keep in the fridge helps wonders as does bio oil on scars and also the radio area. I finished my herceptin 4 weeks ago which set off a whole new set of worries, I have two young boys so have no choice but to be positive and like you have found this the best route for me and my family and friends. I know we are not alone in this fight but if I can help someone else then I know my fight was worth it, please feel free to contact me. Wishing you all the best for the future x

  4. Anonymous1.9.13

    Laura you are inspiration to all x

  5. you are flipping AMAZING. what a massive inspiration, i've been reading your blog for the last half hour and half crying/half laughing. you seem like an absolutely incredible person, keep on going Laura :) xxx

  6. I had 20 days of radiotherapy and at the beginning you don´t feel anything, after a week or so, you start getting very tired, like you are going to get sick, my legs were sore and I was "lazy" until almost 3 weeks after the treatment had finished, but it is much better than chemo anyway! Good luck and stay strong !!!

  7. Hi Laura !
    Just read your story and recognized a bit of myself in it. I have a little bit less nail polish than you ;-)
    When I was diagnosed with a stage 3 cancer, I was also told that I was soooo young (I'm 42 by the way, not that young huh !) that I had to go through the whole "menu". Mastectomy, 6 x chemo,25 sessions of RAD and an ovarectomy (as a precaution). And I was told I was one of the lucky ones :-/
    I had RAD last year in November as a dessert for my big C fight after having visited California an Nevada as an intermezzo (long planned before I was diagnosed and, til the day before we were supposed to take off, I wasn't sure I would be allowed to go).
    To me RAD felt like a holiday after the naughty chemo which sent me many times for weeks at the hospital in an isolation room !!! I didn't have a lot of side effects. A good moisturizer a few hours after each session helped my skin a lot. I only ended with a big tanned square on my right side (still there by the way)... Only a few problems with the joints, "dried" by the X-rays. Only a bit tired of taking my car every day for the 30Km ride to go to the 3-minutes therapy.But Gosh, I didn't regret at anytime the chemo-menu ! So to me, as to many of my C-friends I talked to, RAD was peanuts !
    I now have seen my oncologist and have got green light for a reconstruction. As wednesday is BRA-day, I'm going to meet one of the surgeons who could "rebuild" me. I say "could" because I have to meet more than one. I need to have a good feeling about him or her. I'm looking forward to it and at the same time I'm stressed because I know it's heavy surgery...
    I must say that my boyfriend was a superhero to me during all that time. What a wonderful man ! It's not easy for your nearest family to cope with it. Seeing you sick, tired, sometimes angry at and about everything,and not being able to do anything about it.
    My two horses also helped me a lot throughout the process because I had to go out to take care of them and it helped me to stay active. If you can call dragging your feet and stopping to catch your breath on a few meters journey "being active"... When I think about it, it makes me laugh remembering all the horses staring at me passing by with my heavy breathing, wearing a mask and gloves to avoid as many microbes as possible.
    I want to say you're amazing and I hope you will be an inspiration to many others as I have been to some (I was told)
    Go girl !
    Severine, Belgium